Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – January 9, 2004
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – January 9, 2004 – My bedroom walls are painted a soft, creamy white and beautiful stained glass with a lovely tulip design cover the windows. A splendid, antique walnut bed sits by the window and a fireplace and the door to the ensuite bathroom are at the other end of the room. When I wake up in the morning I have an idea of the kind of day it is outside by the amount of natural light in my bedroom. On a bright day, I’m reminded that sunshine is a blessing we often take for granted.
I’m not a morning person, which seems a little odd, as I was born at 5:20 A.M. Needless to say, there are greater mysteries in the world than this. I usually wake up with one eye on the red, digital read-out on the alarm clock, the other eye still closed. I have no desire to leap gracefully out of bed, drop to the ground for 50 quick sit-ups and then head off to the shower. The snooze button gets a work-out, I wake up slowly, survey the room and think about what I need to accomplish that day. What’s on the proverbial ‘to do list’?
Now that I’m partially awake, I notice the light in the room. On a bright day, rays of light dance up and down the walls and the reflections from the stained glass sparkle in the corners. On a dull day the absence of sunlight is discernible and the process of ‘getting up’ naturally takes a bit longer. I’ll just let my head fall back onto the pillow while I count to 100 (again). We humans are so amusing – the perfect con!
Sunshine has the power to make us smile, warm our hearts and bodies, nurture animal and plant life, paint a landscape with bewitching highlights and shadows, reflect a million dancing points of light from the surface of a lake and make us feel soothed and safe. Even on a freezing winter day, sunshine makes the cold more palatable. What a magic entity it is, this miraculous gift of light!
Yet how many times do we simply toil through the day, lost in our problems and wishing the hours away? We miss the incredible nuances of light that the sun casts in our path and ignore the sublime gifts of sunrise and sunset that grace the beginning and end of each day. I recall two occasions in my life when I was so transfixed by the sun’s light that it was a profound, spiritual experience.
I was on vacation on Vancouver Island and had driven up the coast to The Cathedral Forest – an amazing stand of Douglas Firs. The ground was spongy underfoot with needles and the enormous trees stood like sentries, offering up their branches to the heavens and smiling at their creator – sharing a silent, personal interaction with the sun during the day and the stars at night. I walked into this forest and felt a profound reverence for nature and life. It’s extremely shady at ground level – almost like being in a huge tent. I sauntered along a deserted path and came to a clearing where dead trees must have been removed, to make way for new growth
This open space allowed golden beams of sunshine to enter the otherwise dense forest. Around the edges of the clearing, the impact of this light was enchanting. I felt a shot of adrenaline course through my body and my fingers and toes tingled with pins and needles. The beams of light were electric, alive and dancing. The shadows held the secrets of life, refusing to give them up to a mere mortal. I’m glad they didn’t share their stories because I know where to look for them when I need answers. Whenever I’m involved in a conversation about the universe, God, creation, the divine or the meaning of life – I allow a faint smile to steal across my face, because I know where God lives. When he’s not otherwise engaged – he lives at the end of those golden beams of light, among the Douglas Firs on Vancouver Island.
On another occasion I was on a week-end training retreat with a group of people. It was mid-July and we were at a summer camp near Sudbury. As one of my assignments, I had been paired with a man I didn’t know, to go on a truth walk through the woods. I was instructed to close my eyes and go with him. No verbal communication was allowed. He would guide me through the woods by the touch of his hand, through agreed upon signals, and let me know when to step up or down simply by raising or lowering his hand. I remember thinking, “Here I am in a dense bush with a man who is a total stranger. I’ve been told not to open my eyes and I have to walk with this guy for an hour. Not only that – I’m supposed to trust him”.
We set off hand in hand into the woods. I have willingly surrendered the sense of sight. The darkness was complete. We walked up hills, down hills, stepped over puddles, we crawled over fallen logs and stepped in muck and mud. I heard birds and animals. I listened in a new way to the water as it rushed through a nearby stream. We crossed a bridge and then started up a steep hill. My partner never uttered a word. I never opened my eyes. Gradually I began to have faith in this stranger. I started to trust my own instincts. I felt incredibly safe. I wasn’t tired or tense. As we climbed the hill, the darkness was absolute and extremely cool. I knew we were getting close to the top because my teammate squeezed my hand twice which was a signal to let me know we were almost at level ground again.
We walked on for another ten minutes. The ground was flat and smooth and my partner simply held my hand without offering direction It was obvious that we had walked out into a clearing, because in that moment the sun, which must have been behind a cloud, broke free and the full force of its light shone down on my face. My skin felt as if it was being stroked with a satin cloth. The warmth was sensual and intoxicating. The sense of light I experienced, even though my eyes were still closed, was exquisite. I felt completely connected to the world, relaxed and profoundly peaceful. I trusted life.
All these years later, when I think about that day, close my eyes and relax, I can feel that sublime moment again when the sun touched my face, on a truth walk with a total stranger. I don’t remember his name. I don’t know if I ever knew it, but he was part of one of the most beautiful, intense and spiritual moments I have ever experienced. So the next time you’re longing for an authentic connection with life – simply go outside, take a casual, thoughtful walk in the sunshine and and let the beauty of the light seep into your soul.
Don’t Let A Day Go By Without Being Grateful For Sunshine!